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National tax practice

AGS's dedicated national tax practice includes lawyers based in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. Having provided a broad range of services to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) over many years, we have a thorough understanding of the ATO's operations, policies and imperatives including those specific to dispute resolution and litigation. We understand and support the dispute management principles, strategies and techniques which the ATO uses to to avoid, minimise and resolve disputes as early, cooperatively and collaboratively as possible, including independent review, settlements, alternative dispute resolution and litigation. We also understand and support the principles embodied in Law Administration Practice Statement PSLA 2009/9 and seek to ensure adherence to those principles.

We have outstanding expertise in tax appeal litigation, and in defending the Commissioner’s decisions and processes from attacks in the courts.

AGS has represented the ATO in a wide range of matters in all relevant jurisdictions, for example:

  • proceedings under Part IVC of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 in the AAT, the Federal Court and, where special leave is granted, on appeal to the High Court, in relation to objection decisions in respect of assessments and private rulings, and other decisions that are subject to Part IVC
  • declaratory proceedings in the High Court, the Federal Court and the Supreme Courts of the States concerning tax-related issues
  • judicial review under s 39B of the Judiciary Act 1903 and under the ADJR Act of the exercise of powers and discretions conferred by Acts of which the Commissioner has the general administration
  • matters where constitutional issues arise in relation to tax laws, ranging from serious challenges to spurious delaying tactics
  • matters in which the Commissioner seeks to intervene or be joined as a party, or is joined as a party to a matter; attempts to challenge public rulings; claims for refunds of overpayments; and proceedings relating to departure-prohibition orders
  • appearing in court where the ATO is responding to, or dealing with subpoenas to produce documents or to give evidence in proceedings.

AGS has provided litigation and advice services to the Tax Practitioners Board (and its predecessors, the Tax Agents’ Boards). We have acted in numerous applications to the AAT (and on subsequent appeals to the Federal Court) concerning registration and decisions made under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (and predecessor provisions).

Our Office of General Counsel, led by Leo Hardiman, includes lawyers with a great depth and many years of experience in advising on the development and interpretation of primary and delegated tax legislation, including advising on constitutional and other legal aspects of policy and legislative measures.

  Leo Hardiman Deputy General Counsel 02 6253 7074
  Matthew Walsh Senior Executive Lawyer 02 9581 7517
  Tim Burrows Senior Executive Lawyer 08 9268 1116
  Evan Evagorou Senior Executive Lawyer 03 9242 1246
  Catherine Leslie Special Counsel Tax Disputes 02 9581 7481
  David Morris Senior Executive Lawyer 02 9581 7622
  Vince Tavolaro Senior Executive Lawyer 03 9242 1359
  Jane Lye Senior Executive Lawyer 07 3360 5736
  Olivia Abbott Counsel 02 6253 7023